By Dr. Dave Hnida

DENVER (CBS4) – Holiday time is picnic and barbeque time— so it’s important to make it’s also not Emergency Room or Urgent Care time.

The number one cause of visits this time of year: not injuries, but food poisoning.

So a few thoughts on avoiding a visit to see me in these days to come.

First, some myths about food picnic Keeping A Happy Tummy On The 4th

It’s not an immediate thing. Depending on the germ, food poisoning can strike anytime from about one hour to 8 days after eating the guilty food. That’s right, 8 days. Good luck trying to track down the source.

That’s often because spoiled food doesn’t necessarily look, taste, or smell bad, so you think you’re off the hook for problems.

Plus, a bunch of people can eat the same food, but if only a section of it has gone bad, you may be the unlucky one who partakes of rotten, while others skirt the okay portion while everyone else is just fine.

Then, to avoid food poisoning, keep some of these tips in mind:

Keep cold foods cold, and hot foods hot. That means below 40 degrees, or above 140.

When you put food out at room temperature, remember the two-hour rule. Don’t let anything sit out for longer than that.

Plus, if its 90 degrees or higher, those two hours of safety cushion is cut in half to just an hour before those germs start to multiply.

Always remember to avoid cross contamination—don’t put the cooked food back on the plate or surface you had raw, unwashed food.

Speaking of unwashed, that, in fact, is the number one reason you get poisoned. Sure, the food, such as fruits and vegetables may need a good scrubbing, but countertops and cutting surfaces are a biggie— but most of all: it’s those hands! You’ve got to wash, wash, wash! Frequently, as in every time you move from one task to the next.

Now if you do get sick, the good news is that you’ll probably just have to only go through the agony of temporary vomiting and/or diarrhea (if that could ever be called good news), and then you’ll be fine.

But some of the danger signs to look out for include:


Bloody stools

Abdominal pain

Dizziness, especially when you stand up

No urination for 6-8 hours.

Most importantly, maybe you just feel really sick. In any of these cases, you may need IVs or to be checked out.

Play it safe, enjoy the fireworks in the sky… and don’t let them be part of your gastrointestinal tract!

Happy 4th of July!

Dr. Dave Hnida is CBS4’s Medical Editor. He blogs about the latest studies and trends in the health world. Read his latest blog entries, check out his bio or follow him on Twitter @drdavehnida

#foodsafety #July4th



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